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I've done some research on this and I haven't found any really good suggestions. Here's the summary:

  • HP dv9000 laptop with Vista (updated regularly).
  • No recent changes - was working fine
  • Put it into hibernate mode
  • Tried to restart it the next morning and it woudn't start. All the lights would come on, there was on brief flicker of the HDD light and then not too long after the machine would shut down and then almost immediately try to start again. It just keeps going through the same sequence until I shut it down. The screen stayed black.
  • Tried all the easy stuff: tried disconnecting the power and took out the battery and let it sit for a while. This worked in the past when I had a similar problem but no luck this time. Tried alt-ctrl-del, F8, del, esc and every other Fn key but it won't break out of the situation it's in and go back to the boot sequence. I tried putting in the (Neosmart?) recovery boot disk and it seemed to read it but nothing different happened. I swapped the memory sticks but that didn't change anything.

I suspect that the hibernate file is probably corrupted. I'm thinking of getting a new disk drive and starting over (and then see if I can read the current drive as a second drive). It seems a little bit extreme but I don't see a better way out of this. I could send it to HP who will probably charge a fortune to do something similar.

Anyone have any better ideas on how I can force it to boot (or any other useful suggestions)?

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Last Post by chrishea
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Well, after a day of research and anxiety, I finally got it working again. The manual suggested holding down F10, F11 or F12 as the system is started. Thought that I'd tried that earlier but decided to try it again. F10 did nothing but F11 almost immediately brought up a screen that allowed me to drop the hibernation file and to proceed with a normal boot. After that, it was a normal startup.

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Here's a further update.
I shut the system down normally last night and when I started it up this morning, it seemed to be in the same loop shutting itelf down and then restarting. Using F11 (HP Recovery Manager) took me to an HP Recovery screen that offers various options. I chose to do a chkdsk for the the main (Windows) partition. That ran for a long time and didn't find any errors. After that, the system booted up normally. There is probably still a problem and it will probably do the same thing at startup the next time so I'm not there yet.

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Keep us posted please. If you hadn't given us post #2 you might have had a suggestion that the MBR could be corrupt - which it clearly isn't.

There is autility you can download called HD Tune (I use v2.55). That might provide useful diagnostics.

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Just reset the computer. Common issue.

What does "reset the computer" mean? There are many different ways of doing this (with different effects) - so what specifically should chrishea do in your opinion?

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In my opinion take out the battery. Usually gets rid of this issue.

Read post #1. He's done the battery thing.

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load up the Device Manager from Control Panel. check to see that the TurboCache drivers are showing as installed (ie, no yellow triangle), as can cause all sorts of issues if they corrupt, such as BSOD on waking from either Sleep or Hibernation.

And before the bandwagoners hop on, it is an Intel caused issue.

Video and Audio drivers are also known culprits

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Well I ended up back in the same situation where the machine would fail and reboot in a loop. Using F11 I was able to get into the HP Recovery Manager again (after a dozen or more unsuccessful attempts) but the best that I could do was to get into a command window where I could use xcopy to make copies of some of my files. I got pretty sick of that so I figured it was time for a more drastic solution. I bought a new hard drive (double the size and faster) and an external housing for the old drive that allows me to plug it in as a USB drive. I then went through a couple of days of experimenting and researching to figure out how to downgrade to XP and get all of the devices recognized. I just had enough of Vista (after about 2 1/2 yrs).

I spent most of the day today trying to find an XP video driver that would recognize the native size of the LCD screen and support that. The HP site provides a bunch of drivers for other devices but no video driver for my machine. I went through innumerable web sites that ranged from "it can't be done without a new video card" to ones with utilities to force the resolution that didn't work. Neither the HP or the NVidia web site were much of any help. Finally, many many hours later I found a site with a download for an NVidia driver (not the first such site but the others didn't work). I installed it and it worked. I'm not totally out of the woods yet but I think that this will work out ok. I have many hours of re-building to do but in the end i will be good. The difference in start up and shut down time and performance in general is pretty significant. That's partly the new drive but a lot of it is XP.

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Well done. That effort puts you on a par with many of the gurus on this forum who've had to re-build and crawl forward step-by-step.

I assume that your decisions were influenced by the opportunity to upgrade your HDD. In that case, a fresh build with all the correct drivers would be advisable - and that's what you've done.

Going back to the original problem out of sheer interest and as you didn't mention System Restore Points, what was the situation there?

Finally on the faster HDD - you've answered an unasked question. Can you upgrade your laptop HDD say from 5400 RPM to, say, 7200 RPM? Will the disk controller handle it? So that's a YES. Only thing - just keep an eye on the laptop's temperature which will be higher due to the faster disk.

Cheers

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The system only gave me the option of one restore point and it was taken during the brief period when I had it working again. I tried it out of desperation but it didn't help.

With respect to the hard drive, that's one more point where HP is not helpful in giving clear information. The original description of the laptop quoted an upper limit of 240 gb (using two 120gb drives). Nothing that I could find from HP said if this was a real limit (e.g. something in the Bios) or just a limit of what they provisioned. After enough online research and talking to the computer store I became convinced that there was no technical limitation. I bought a 250gb drive for $72 (7200 rpm with 16mb cache) and it is great. Since drives don't last for ever, this is probably a good time to put my old drive into a backup role anyway. I get a bit more noise and vibration from the new drive but the heat is about the same or maybe even a little bit better (at least so far).

The biggest impact will be re-installing programs and the fact that I was using Windows Mail and that may all be trashed. Despite the pain, it's almost like getting a new laptop so it's actually pretty positive from that point of view. Compared to about a month ago when I also had both hinges broken (which I repaired myself with new hinges from ebay) I'm actually in great shape.

Once I get everything that I can off the old drive, I will probably try to run the Recovery procedure on the old drive to clean the disk and rebuild Vista from scratch. That way, I can probably boot into Vista one more time and recover Mail and anything else that is Vista only (if it matters at that point).

Looking forward, maybe Windows 7 might make some sense, but it just seems like a better Vista and not a major step forward. Since it isn't free, I guess you have to question what you're getting for your money. I'm still running a copy of Win 98 (on my desktop) and now XP, probably the two best versions of Windows. It seems that Microsoft is mostly competing with itself trying to build something significantly better than these past successes. They seem to be failing. They are fixing specific issues and providing new functions but the overall experience isn't getting better. I'll be happy never to endure the User Account Control interruptions again. I'm happy to have a CD/DVD for XP that I can use if I need to run some recovery. I'm happy to have a PC that runs faster and boots up quickly. Enuf said.

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An interesting homily.

We didn't bottom out the hibernate problem. It's tempting to blame Microsoft but, you know, there's so much between cup and lip. Disk glitches right at the wrong moment; third party drivers that misbehave at the wrong moment; mains spikes.

But in other respects I tend to agree with you, although loving XP won't move you forward if that's what you want. It's fair to say that I get more Vista issues to resolve (e.g. boot hanging - but system restore solves that) than I did with XP. I like Vista's user interface and I don't mind UAC one bit as I've pressed the Enter key too quickly too often in XP!

If you get a program like RegCure (to keep your registry clean), it'll produce a system restore point for you on each usage occasion. If there is one software lesson that I've spotted in your case, it's having a choice of restore points.

Cheers

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There were more restore points created previously but for some reason, it only let me choose the most recent.

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If you load up system restore in Vista, rather than simply displaying all available restore points, Vista should have a bottom near the bottom of the wizard to select older restore points

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This is getting weird and (even more) frustrating.

After downgrading to XP on a new drive everything was working fine. Then I left the machine a bit too long and it put itself to sleep. Once again it doesn't want to come alive again. Same thing as before with continual restarting but no boot. It's as if it is detecting some sort of problem and wants to shut itself down as a precaution. Since it worked fine for a couple of days after I put the new drive in and loaded XP, I can't believe that there is a hardware problem. Only one thing that seemed to be a minor problem is that the BIOS was only reporting 1 gig of memory when there should be 2 gigs. I re-seated the memory boards and now it reports it as two in the bios. Once again I can get to the bios occasionally by pressing F8 after a restart. With an XP disk in the drive, it seems to start reading but then gets shutdown when the machine shuts itself down.

Reading many posts about similar problems tells me that this sort of thing has happened to many people with HP / Compaq laptops. The only ones that seemed to get reported as resolved were the cases where the machine was sent back to HP for repairs. There were various reports of being able to get the machine to boot again by:

  • Letting the machine continuously power off and on up to 50 times until it finally reboots;
  • Wrapping it in blankets and letting it continually restart until it boots (not kidding! - a variation on the previous approach);
  • Putting it in the refrigerator and then restarting it after it is really cooled down;
  • Removing battery and AC power, holding down the on button for a minute and then restarting with only AC power. Speculation that a worn battery could cause problems;
  • Blowing into the fan opening while restarting;
  • Changing / re-seating the battery on the motherboard;
  • Letting it sit for an extended period with no power.

HP has an extended warranty right now for many problems that seem to be related to overheating, including no-boot situations. I believe that it is a bios update related to the fan. Not sure that I'm eligible so I will have to investigate further. I already had the motherboard replaced under a previous warranty extension. Don't really want to turn it into a door stopper and I don't want to pay HP more than its worth to work on it. Not clear what the other options are (if it's too old for the current warranty extension).

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It's always a blow when one concludes a hardware fault. We've only your description to go on.

I've had too many company PCs made by HP to ever want one for myself. You forgot to add holding down the K key to make it boot!

If you're sufficiently minted or can run it through your company, take up your door stop suggestion and get a Dell or Toshiba AFTER researching problems via Google.

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Have to agree - most complaints I hear in regards to Vista this and Vista that.... the user just happens to be using HP (or their subsidiary Compaq). Coincidence?? I think not.

Unfortunately HP - even on the "high-end" machines, tend to save their own pennies by loading up their machines with out-dated hardware, and then couple the prob by never upgrading the drivers.

Agree with Suspishio - go the way of Dell or Toshiba (Asus not bad, but still rather slack with their driver support) and see the headaches fade away.

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Well the weirdness hasn't stopped yet, but in a good way this time. I hope someone finds this useful or at least entertaining.

I let the machine reboot quite a number of times (under XP) but it wasn't going anywhere except in a loop. I was reading about the possibility of corruption in the Master Boot Record so I figured that I would try the command to repair it. Since I couldn't get to a command line under XP, I swapped the Vista drive back in and tried re-booting. I had been using a number of Function keys (mainly F11) to get into the HP Recovery Manager but for some reason this time I tried the Del key. That was almost like magic. The initial HP screen came up and then it went into the Windows boot. It gave me the choice to go into Safe Mode or not so I chose to do that. So that's where I am right now with it running quite normally under Vista Safe Mode. I'm copying things I needed (like mail) and I guess that I will eventually have to do a normal boot and hope that it will boot again normally. I will take another restore point first and I may run the MBR update first (but I need to look into that further). I have turned off the automatic power-saving options.

So at this point, it would seem that I can conclude that:

  • There is no basic hardware problem causing the boot problems (at least not a consistent one).
  • Vista doesn't seem to be totally corrupted (I still have to see if it will boot in normal startup mode)
  • Whatever the problem is/was (including a possible corrupted MBR) the use of the delete key when booting seemed to get around it (at least this once).
  • I can't conclude that I'm out of the woods yet.
  • Despite the millions of PCs, many many HP dv9000's and related models and many people having boot problems, there is a sad lack of definitive information or adequate tools to figure out what is going on and fix it. Many many people have gotten into this situation and raised the same questions but there are only a few real answers that don't work all the time. The vendors just want to sell new machines so they aren't much help with info to keep them running.

More to follow after I get to the point of booting again (unless you are sick of this saga in which case I'll stop). And oh by the way, since I'm now running under Vista again (at least for now), I'm back in the right forum again!

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I was able to re-boot into normal mode after a few tries booting with the Delete key pressed down. I have left it running ever since and I have no problems of any sort now that it is up and running (under Vista). For now I'm just letting it run 7/24 with all of the power saving options off. I have spent many many hours trying to figure this out and so far, no luck.

When I have the time and energy, I think that my next move will be to try booting with no hard drive and just a Windows install disk and then to try formatting the first partition on the new disk and try installing Win XP again and see if it works. I didn't have any problems initially after I installed XP. It was only after it went into sleep mode that the boot stopped working. I can probably get back to that same point again and then make sure that all the power saving options are off.

I followed this up in the Hardware forum because it looked as if this might be caused by hardware and there are many other posts in the hardware forum with similar no boot problems. At this point I don't know what it is but at least I'm running again.

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I must say that you have followed a very logical course of action. I would however like to mention that considering that the exact same issue occured on two different drives, I would definitely not root this as a software problem. Or even a problem with the hard drive/controller. A few of your points in your previous post caught my attention

Letting the machine continuously power off and on up to 50 times until it finally reboots

and

Wrapping it in blankets and letting it continually restart until it boots

would seem to imply that the system fan is probably not spinning properly. My thinking is that when you do either of these steps, the unit heats up and causes the fan sensor to try and spin the fan at max speed and the fan starts spinning. When this happens, the unit cools down enough to POST (I'm going to say POST as I classify this issue as No POST rather than no Boot) and work as normal. When you put the system to sleep/hibernate, the temperature is lowered and the fan would cut out and not start up again until it receives full power. This would seem to imply an issue with the fan itself - it does not spin at all when it should be spinning at low speeds, only spins at high speeds

Putting it in the refrigerator and then restarting it after it is really cooled down

Blowing into the fan opening while restarting

and

Letting it sit for an extended period with no power

would imply that the unit starts up after it has cooled down sufficiently, although I can't explain why the unit wouldn't start after you've let it lie idle for a few hours.

What I would suggest is that when this issue recurs, try holding a fan near the exhaust vents and then see if the issue occurs. Once the system starts up, continue with the fans close to the exhaust vents and then try putting the system to sleep/hibernate and see if you can resume. If the system resumes consistently with the fans blowing, you can definitely suspect the fan in the unit.

Please post back with your results. I am really intrigued with your issue here.

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I didn't mean to imply that I had tried all of the things that I listed. They were various suggestions / solutions that I found as I trolled the net looking for similar problems.

The only thing that really worked for me was holding down the delete key when it booted. Somehow that seemed to bypass the problem and it went to a normal boot. The first time I tried it, it took a few tries before it broke the power on / off cycle. Once I got it running again, I left it running 7/24 for about a week and then I had to restart it because a few things weren't working properly. I was surprised that it restarted normally. It has been running 7/24 for about another week since that reboot and I haven't reached the point of any more experimenting yet.

I followed this thread with a post in the hardware forum because it did seem more hardware related. There was a suggestion that a common problem with the soldering of one of the pins on the NVidia chip leads to a bad response during the POST process and that is why it won't boot properly. If that is the problem, then it may be that it is only a problem when the machine is starting cold. This is the most logical explanation that I have for the sequence of events that I encountered so far. I don't know what the Delete key does to facilitate the boot but it seemed to work for me.

When I have the energy, I need to re-initialize my new hard drive partition and try booting with it and the Windows Disk to see if it will start and let me re-create the XP system. Then I need to see if I can boot normally with XP. Since, Hibernation and sleep seemed to get me into this whole thing, I have turned those options off and I will do that in XP as well if I get that far. I need to use this machine for business purposes so I can't afford to take the chance on having it out of commission again. If it works normally without those power options, I can live with that quite easily.

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An Update
I post this as part of my ongoing saga in case it may be of value or interest to others.

Once I got the machine running again (more than a month ago), I didn't want to take the chance and reboot it so I just left it running. Windows update was set to automatically do its thing (I didn't think to disable it initially) so it forced a few restarts along the way and they worked ok. I think that the longest it ran without a restart was around 300 hours up to this morning.

I didn't initiate a restart or shutdown myself until this morning (after Windows Update had already restarted it once). I was still running Vista and I tried the restart (which worked as you might expect), then I shut it down and restarted with the power button. That worked OK too.

I checked on the BIOS situation (the HP BIOS update!) and found that there have been updates for the Intel version but the AMD version hasn't changed since 2007 so I have the latest version already.

Along the way, I purchased a new drive and loaded XP onto it. That worked OK for a while until I let it go into Sleep Mode and then it started having the same problem I had under Vista. This morning, I swapped drives again and booted it under XP and that worked OK as well. The combination of the new faster drive, a pretty clean disk without too much on it (and partitioned) with XP makes it run quite a bit quicker than it was running under Vista.

So the one thing that I haven't tried is to shut it down, let it get cold and then reboot. If there is a solder conenction problem (as one person suggested it might be from the video board to the motherboard), it might not work. At some point, I guess I'll have to give that a try. I have turned off the hibernate and standby/sleep options and I will leave those off since it seemed to be a key factor in triggering the problem on Vista and XP.

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The Last Chapter
This is ready to be closed even though I still don't understand exactly why the machine did what it did.

I turned off the machine overnight and it booted up normally this morning.

The Recap
HP Pavillion (dv9201) running an up-to-date copy of Vista Home Premium. The machine is a couple of years old. I had the Motherboard replaced previously under warranty because of a wireless problem.

I put the machine into hibernate mode (which I did on a regular basis since it was new). The next day when I tried to bring it back to life, it went into a loop (in the Post process), trying to start up, shutting itself down and then immediately trying again. I let it retry many times but it never got out of the loop. I tried all of the standard ideas like removing the line power and the battery, holding down the power button for an extra long time etc but none of those helped this time around. I messed around with the HP Recovery Manager for a bit and I managed to get it restarted once but overall, it wasn't much help. The only action that was successful in getting out of the loop was holding down the Delete key when starting it up. It took a few tries but that took it to the HP logo and into the Windows Boot.

Since Hibernate seemed to trigger it, I thought that Vista might play a role so I decided to get a new (larger) drive and load up XP and try that. I had been thinking of doing that anyway so this provided the extra push. I did that and I was able to build the XP system and it ran and booted fine. There were problems in finding the right drivers but I did manage to get over that. I did not think to turn off all of the XP power saving options so when I left the machine on too long, it went into Sleep Mode on its own. I immediately had the same Post loop problem when I tried to get it out of Sleep mode and eventually forced a re-boot.

I went back to the Vista drive, managed to break out of the loop again, booted under Vista and then turned off all of the Power-Saving options. I then ran the machine for more than a month without re-booting it myself. I forgot about Windows Update and when I left it (on) overnight, Windows Update came along, downloaded some changes and forced a re-boot. To my surprise, it re-booted OK. I left Windows Update turned on and it processed a number of batches of changes without any problems.

A couple of days ago, I experimented with reboots under Vista and then swapped the drives and booted under XP. No problem in either case. There was still the possibility that it wouldn't boot when it was cold. I left the new drive in with XP and I turned it off overnight last night. It booted fine this AM.

Conclusions and What I Learned

1. There doesn't seem to be any one software or hardware problem that cause the Post loop. If anything it might be a minor hardware issue that Post detects in combination with trying to come out of Hibernate or Sleep mode.

2. There doesn't seem to be enough information or tools to really pin down what is happening in this sort of situation. There are enough dead machine issues (especially laptops) that there is an unsatisfied need that someone should try to fill.

3. The Vendors of these machines should have enought knowledge and experience that they should be able to help but they are mainly interested in revenue. If I had sent in the machine for service, they probably would have re-initialized my drive and re-loaded Vista. That wasn't an acceptable alternative and in the end I didn't need to do it.

4. New drives are cheap enough, that it is worthwhile getting another one to replace the slower and smaller drive that comes standard with many of the machines. I had an 80 gb drive that was almost full. I got a new 250 gb SATA fast drive for around $70. I bought an enclosure for the old drive that lets me connect it through USB and that didn't cost very much. The machine runs quicker, I can still access all the data on the old drive and I shouldn't have to worry about the new drive failing for quite a while (not for sure but probably). If I have a problem with XP on the new drive, I have the XP install disk to do repairs to XP or I can still boot from the other drive under Vista as a short-term alternative.

5. I'm happy with moving from Vista to XP. I stuck it out for a long time but Vista was slow and annoying. It is a challenge finding the right drivers for XP, especially for Video. I did eventually get everything to work correctly. Then I went a step too far and loaded Directx 9. It appears that you can't use the NVidia native drivers and HP doesn't keep re-issuing updated versions. It look slike I will have to force it back to Directx 8.

6. Don't give up too easily. You can often find a solution if you do enough research and try enough of the suggestions. It's very frustrating when something that you've assumed will always work suddenly doesn't. It can obviously have a serious impact on your life / business. I'm now in a much stronger backup situation than I was before and it didn't cost much. We usually only deal with these things when it's a crisis but the option is always there.

Edited by chrishea: n/a

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And a Final Comment:
In the end I think that this is the same problem that many other people have with HP Laptops not booting. It is claimed that it is caused by a problem with the NVIDIA chip and there is even a class-action suit being assembled for it.

I am still using my machine because I was able to find a bypass. I documented my experience and the bypass on my site. Click here to see it.

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